Militarisation of international aid- Good or bad?

8 aid agencies have just published a report complaining about the militarisation of aid.

Now, the US military annual aid budget in Afghanistan is quoted at $1 bn, more than the entire Afghan government budget for health, education and agriculture combined.

My question, to those who have seen it in the field is- Does militarised aid work? There are enough horror stories about DFID on this site to suggest that central Government led aid programmes can have difficulty, but the aid agencies have an agenda here. After all, if the military moves in on their turf, then their income is likely to get cut.
However, although the military is very good about getting things done, sometimes they aren't the right things, in the right places.

Current operations in Haiti have already taken on a very 'military' tone, simply because only the military can handle logistics on that scale- but at what point should the military step away?
I don't see a problem with military involvement in aid delivery - as you say, very few organisations can combine the logistics and security arrangements under one banner - but I think there does come a point where their running the show becomes counter-productive. Particularly in regions sensitive to the impression of colonialism, the presence of a foreign military can inflame the tensions of already-desperate people and cause as many problems as it solves.

Also, there's the question of how many militaries really have actual experience of anything other than short-term aid-delivery, let alone the in-depth practice and long-term focus needed for rebuilding a nation for example. In the aftermath of WW2 the people doing the heavy-lifting were military in name only, being civvy experts called up for the duration. The army, left to its own devices, couldn't have done the job.
I suspect this has less to do with the militarisation of aid, more the usurpation of these agencies plinth! Military support to the bleeding hearts is always popular...especially helicopters and sappers. The idea that the military can save babies as well as slaughter them doesn't sit well with some of the liberal do-gooder types in the NGOs. Or the press perhaps?


Book Reviewer
How else is it going to get there
The U.N. is showing time and time again it's usless
At thge end of the day only the military can get it there fast
Prinarily the U.S Military I would say followed by the rest i.e. us who can't afford a massive effort but can provide some aid
As was shown in Somallia in the 90's iyt's no point sending unarmed aid agencies in to watch armed men take the aid for themselves and shoot anyone who gets in the way
As cuddles says it dosen't sit well with some people seeing the armies of the world delivering aid

As an aside well done the 70 or so multi millionaires who appeared on the telethon last week
£20 million you raised from members of the public
You could have chipped a miliion quid in each and stayed at home and still trebeled it
I'd say its a good thing - the Armed Forces is equipped for the task properly, and they can actually do the job properly.

You only need to look at the work record of some NGOs in these environments - they end up needing protecting to do the job.

Think Cuddles has got it in one, to be honest. It takes their funding, their work, their jobs. I mean, the baby eaters can't save and help people.

Can they?
There are some NGOs that are capable. MSF and the Red Cross/Crescent primarily. Otherwise, I can't help feeling it's a bunch of do-gooders who don't really understand the underlying challenge- which is, no matter what they may say, is logistics.

The_boy_syrup's point about Somalia reminds me of how technicals came to be so named- it's because "local security" was outsourced to the gangs by NGOs, and the gangs used technicals as escort vehicles. When the NGOs filed their accounts, the protection money (cos that's what it was really) was thinly disguised as "technical assistance".
with my experience in the Balkans, I would say, without reservation, the military has the expertise, talent, equipment, and people to run aid missions without difficulty. I can not say the same for some of the NGOs I have seen.

Perhaps a bit of a generalisation, but, vote is: Military Good -
I suppose it's all matter of perspective, if you are starving, homeless, with no hope of any realistic aid getting to you any time soon without the military then of course it's not a good idea, it's a brilliant idea.


Book Reviewer
So why not think a little longer term and say that it's for companies that are manned by ex military? Then you have the expertise and none of the moral drain on the government.

And the cost? The forces have been outsourcing for a long time now, not because they really want to employ civilians, more that overall them's be cheaper.

The Yanks outsourced a lot of their work (including some *ahem* slightly offensive stuff) to Dyncorp et al and they were perfectly happy if one of the contractors didn't make it as it wouldn't affect the next election.

If we are to see success in Afghanistan i.e. the establishment of an even government, installed at the behest of the people, who can operate on the world stage, then we need to rebuild the bloody place. DfID, USAid, FCO etc haven't exactly got very far to date so give it to some meaty fellahs with the muscle and means to deliver.
You would have to work for the UN to really appreciate how they squander money.

IA on getting a grant.

1. Expand your organisation to ensure built-in redundancy to ensure your own job is safe.

2. Commission a Study e.g. Do the presence of minefields affect local villages? (Hint - Yes!)

3. Arrange a conference - but only after all staff have been trained in Gender, Equal Opportunities, Harassment and some other b0llox!

4. Exaggerate your achievements to the Donors - normally some stupid t@rt fro the EU or US.

6. Cover up any feckups by promoting the miscreant and covering up your own lack of supervison.

7. GOTO 1

Afternote - when expanding your organisation, and after a free and transparent recruitment process, hire a relative of your own or one of somebody else already on the team.

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